Selfishness Revised

One of the things I would change in my book is the chapter on Selfishness. In it I describe my frustration with drivers I encounter who are clearly only thinking of themselves and not the others on the road. When all know these people--the ones who consistently don't use their blinker, who speed through the red light, who zoom past the line of merging cars to get as far ahead in the line as possible. Those drivers frustrate me to no end sometimes. So I used them as my example for selfishness.

But I realized later that it's only pointing a finger back at myself. I'm frustrated with selfish drivers because they inconvenience me.  There's probably a bit of self-righteousness going on as well ("well, at least I'm not like those drivers"). But I'm coming to see my selfishness in being upset at their driving. There are times I want to drive like that. I want to be outwardly selfish rather than just inwardly selfish--it would sure help me get where I want to go a little faster. But I'm better than that, so I think.

I'm finding that I become less selfish if I just assume the best. "Well, they must have a pregnant woman in the back, so they're rushing to the hospital." Or "Clearly they're late for something important. I hope they get there on time. Sometimes I'll try to pray for them--beyond the "Lord-it-would-sure-be-nice-to-see-them-pulled-over-by-a-cop-a-few-miles-down-the-road"-prayer.

Sometimes the road brings out the worst in us. Sometimes other drivers help. Often, I'm fairly good at bringing out the worst in myself.

But I really do find that prayer helps. If I pray for the other person (in real, helpful ways)--"Lord, give them a good day today" or "Jesus, help them slow down to see the beauty you've created around them" or even an honest "God, keep them safe and everyone else they drive near"--I find myself less focused on me.

I'm finding that to be the case in a lot of life's arenas. That if I pray for the other around me, I'm not focused on myself in unhealthy ways. I envy less if I pray for their blessings. I lust less if I pray for their day to go well (plus, I'm refocusing on them as a person and not an object). I am less angry if I pray for their health. I fear less if I pray for peace for them. Nothing fancy--just asking God for one simple thing that I'd desire if I was that person.

I still have a ways to go. There are plenty of times when I don't remember to pray for them. Plenty of times when I'm closer to uttering a curse against them than a blessing. But I'm getting better. Mile by mile, block by block.

(Selfishness is Chapter 9 in my book Cultural Enslavement: Breaking Free into Abundant Living. Consider adding these thoughts to Chapter 19 on Selflessness as you read through it)
mile. Block

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